The Lady Alchemist by Samantha Vitale
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.7 MB
In a land torn between magic and alchemy, Sepha is an exceptional alchemist, able to bend the rules in ways no one else can. But when a slip of the tongue lands her in prison with a mountain of straw, even she has to admit that she can’t transmute straw into gold.With the threat of a death sentence hanging over her, she’s forced to make a deal with a conniving magician. Sepha escapes with her life – but at a cost: she has one year to alchemically create a body for the magician, or else her firstborn child will be his.As Sepha’s deadline approaches, she uncovers a deadly secret. How can she save her country when the body she owes the magician will be used to destroy it?
Sepha’s boots pounded on the worn forest path. It was somewhere between cruel winter and frenzied spring, in that wet time just after snowfall and just before the great explosion of green. Soon, everything would be covered in a thick, sticky layer of yellow-green pollen, and the ground would be flooded from melted snow and perpetual rain. The River Guterahl would be swollen and roaring mad, and no one in the mountain town of Three Mills would have dry feet for weeks.
Sepha skidded on a patch of rot-slicked leaves, barely recovered her balance, and ran even faster. Her father’s glare flashed behind her eyes, but she shook her head, ridding herself of the image. She would not be late. She would not! Be late!
She had spent months studying blueprints, practicing alchemical exchanges, and rehearsing the speech her father Ludov had prepared for her. Now, the day had finally come.
The Magistrate, the ruler of all Tirenia, was visiting town for the express purpose of touring Father’s mill. The mill turned raw steel into parts for rifles, cannons, and armored tanks on crawler-tracked wheels. It would’ve closed years ago if not for Sepha’s hard work and unexpected knack for alchemy.
If Sepha’s demonstration didn’t go as planned, it may as well close today.
The Magistrate’s tour would culminate in Sepha’s alchemical demonstration, after which the Magistrate would have no choice but to grant them a new contract with Tirenia’s army. Or so Father had insisted. The contract would move the mill from just making parts, a pre-assembly factory, to a one-stop manufacturer of army supplies. It would halt Three Mills’ rapid decline and transform the town into a real, thriving community. And it all hinged on Sepha’s demonstration.
She’d stayed up late last night preparing for the demonstration, making sure everything was just so. This morning, exhausted from the previous night, she’d walked to the River Guterahl to clear her head.
And had fallen asleep.
Like an absolute idiot.
And now she had to run—and run—and run, if she was to get to the mill on time.
“Stupid!” she muttered angrily.
Stu-pid, stu-pid, her boots seemed to agree, slamming the word against the ground.
The common path unwound ahead of her, skirting the edge of the forest until it reached the ramshackle housing near Three Mills’ industrial district. Past the housing were the defunct flour and saw mills, and past those, at the farthest end of the mill-yard, was the steel mill. She was too far off. She wouldn’t make it.